Like swine flu, the British gangster flick must adapt to survive. Its latest mutation, ‘The Liability’, tiptoes into the dark places of Scandinavian crime thrillers (human trafficking, a sadistic rapist) and has a stab at the cutthroat teacher-pupil dynamic of ‘Breaking Bad’. But really it’s most comfortable with a bit of cor-blimey banter and an axe being plunged into the back of some dead Latvian geezer.
Made-for-telly actor Jack O’Connell (‘Skins’) is 19-year-old dim-bulb Adam, who crashes a flash new Merc belonging to his crime boss stepdad (Peter Mullan). To atone, he’s packed off to work with a librarian-ish hitman, Roy (Tim Roth, wasted). Adam takes to his work with puppy-dog enthusiasm. ‘Giz a go!’ he pants, watching Roy hack the hand off a corpse. All’s well until they attract the attentions of an ultra-hot female avenger. Roth’s performance and handful of dry-as-a-bone one-liners keep it from the straight-to-DVD pile. Just.